Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo is celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Black Rhino calf, born in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday 24 February 2021.
Keepers arrived at work on Wednesday to find the female calf standing beside mother Bakhita in the Zoo’s behind-the-scenes calving yard.
“This is the fourth calf for experienced mother Bakhita, who is the Zoo’s most successful Black Rhino breeding female and also the first female Black Rhino born here,” said Taronga Western Plains Zoo Director, Steve Hinks.
Keepers are currently monitoring Bakhita and her calf via CCTV cameras to allow them plenty of space to develop their bond and ensure both mother and calf remain calm.
“This calf is especially important as it carries the legacy of our Black Rhino breeding bull, Kwanzaa who sadly passed away in 2020.”
“Kwanzaa played a prominent role in the Black Rhino conservation breeding program here in Dubbo, siring four calves, and it is such a great feeling to see his final calf arrive safely,” said Steve.
Both mum and calf are doing well and will remain behind-the-scenes for the next couple of months. This time is important for both mum and calf to bond and to allow the calf to grow and develop before making the move to the Black Rhino paddock on the Zoo circuit.
“The team will provide regular updates on our newest addition via Taronga TV and social media whilst the calf is behind-the-scenes,” said Steve.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been very successful in breeding Black Rhinos throughout the history of the conservation breeding program which commenced in the 1990s. This is the fourth calf born into the program in the last six years.
“Our team that care for this species here at the Zoo are experts in their field and this latest success is a testament to their knowledge, husbandry skills and dedication in conserving this remarkable species.”
Black Rhinos are currently listed as critically endangered with estimates that there are less than 6000 remaining in the wild.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is internationally renowned for its Black Rhino conservation breeding program and actively funds and supports conservation efforts for wild rhinos in Africa, Indonesia and India. Funding and support for habitat protection and restoration, anti-poaching and rhino protection units and the reduction of human-animal conflict are all vital to ensure Rhino species will continue to survive in the wild.